Comb from Jarlshof, Shetland

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Postcard of Comb from Jarlshof, Shetland.
© National Museums Scotland

Comb from Jarlshof, Shetland

This bone or antler comb was found at the Norse settlement of Jarlshof in Shetland. It was used for combing hair sometime between 850 and 1000.

The comb was made by cutting small plates of bone or antler into teeth. These were then riveted together between two connecting plates on top. The corroding metal rivets are visible on this comb, and most of the teeth have broken off.

Combs were widely distributed in northern Europe during the Viking period, and their places of production are not certain. Some have elaborate decoration and cases, although this one is plain. They are also found in both men's and women's graves.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-000-136-635-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0035: Early Scottish Shelter - Life in the Prehistoric Home (multimedia essay)
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.HSA 167
Date: Between 850 and 1000
Material: Bone; nine bronze rivets; undecorated
Dimensions: 0.95" L
What: Comb, hair
Where: Scotland, Shetland, Sumburgh, Jarlshof
Description: Single-sided, composite bone hair comb, from Jarlshof
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